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News for researchers at the Manchester Metropolitan University

Nostalgic viewfinder: the instant camera

“What is your ear­li­est mem­ory of pho­tog­ra­phy? For most of us it is prob­a­bly the instant cam­era. A sym­bol of the democ­ra­ti­sa­tion of pho­tog­ra­phy which started in the mid 20th cen­tury and laid the foun­da­tions for dig­i­tal pho­tog­ra­phy today.”

“The ear­li­est instant cam­era, which con­sisted of a cam­era and portable dark­room in a sin­gle com­part­ment, was invented in 1923 by Samuel Shlafrock. The instant cam­era as we know it today is accred­ited to Amer­i­can sci­en­tist, Edwin Land, invented for for the mass mar­ket in 1947 by Land’s com­pany, now known as the Polaroid Cor­po­ra­tion. Land was orig­i­nally inspired and moti­vated to cre­ate an instant cam­era when his daugh­ter asked ‘Why can’t I see them now?’”.

“The great thing about the instant cam­era is its abil­ity to gen­er­ate a devel­oped film directly within the cam­era, with­out the need for a dark­room – tak­ing only a few sec­onds to process after click­ing the shut­ter. Once the film was exposed and then processed, the film was pulled out of the back of the cam­era and would fully develop within a few minutes.”

To read more and see some of the early instant cameras and the photos they took go to:

[Source Europeana as above]

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